Opinions of historical figures on Indian culture, religion and achievements


Senior Member
Apr 1, 2009
"We owe a lot to Indians who taught us how to count, without which
no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made."

--Albert Einstein

"Land of religions, cradle of human race, birthplace of human speech, grandmother of legend, great grandmother of tradition. The land that men with intellectual bent desire to see and having seen once even by a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for the shows of the rest of the globe combined."

--Mark Twain (1835-1910)

"Access to the Vedas is the greatest privilege this century may claim over all previous centuries."

--Julius Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967) One of the world’s greatest physicists, known as “the father of the atomic bomb”

" Indian philosophers' subtleties make most of the great European philosophers look like schoolboys."

-- T. S. Eliot

"The Indian way of life provides the vision of the natural, real way of life. We western veil ourselves with unnatural masks. On the face of India are the tender expressions which carry the mark of the Creators hand."

--George Bernard Shaw, (1856-1950) Dramatist, Nobel Laureate in Literature

There is space in its philosophy for everyone, which is one reason why India is a home to every single religion in the world.

--H. G. Wells (1866-1946), English author and political philosopher

"Wherever we direct our attention to Hindu literature, the notion of infinity presents itself."

--Sir William Jones, English philologist

"I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad-Gita. It was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us."

--Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American author, essayist, lecturer, philosopher, Unitarian minister

"In the history of the world, the Vedas fill a gap which no literary work in any other language could fill. I maintain that to everybody who cares for himself, for his ancestors, for his intellectual development, a study of the Vedic literature is indeed indispensable."

--Professor F. Max Muller , German philosopher and philologist

"In the whole world there is no study so beneficial and so elevating as that of the Upanishads. It has been the solace of my life; and it will be the solace of my death. They are the product of the highest wisdom."

--Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), German philosopher and writer

" I am convinced that everything has come down to us from the banks of the Ganga --- astronomy, astrology, metempsychosis, etc."

" It is very important to note that some 2,500 years ago at the least Pythagoras went from Samos to the Ganga (Ganges) to learn geometry...But he would certainly not have undertaken such a strange journey had the reputation of the Brahmins' science not been long established in Europe..."

--Francois Marie Voltaire (1694-1774) France's greatest writers and philosophers

"India has created a special momentum in world history as a country to be searched for knowledge."

--Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), German philosopher

"It strikes everyone in beginning to form an acquaintance with the treasures of Indian literature, that a land so rich in intellectual products and those of the profoundest order of thought..."

--Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), German philosopher

"The Greeks loved so much Indian philosophy that Demetrios Galianos had even translated the Bhagavad-Gita". There is absolutely not a shadow of a doubt that the Greeks knew all about Indian philosophy."

--Roger-Pol Droit French philosopher, and Le Monde journalist,

"There is no language in the world, even Greek, which has the clarity and the philosophical precision of Sanskrit," adding that " India is not only at the origin of everything she is superior in everything, intellectually, religiously or politically and even the Greek heritage seems pale in comparison."

--Frederich von Schlegel, (1772-1829), German philosopher, critic, and writer, the most prominent founder of German Romanticism

"the Veda was the most precious gift for which the West had ever been indebted to the East."

-- Voltaire, (1694-1774), France's greatest writers and philosophers

"The vastest knowledge of today cannot transcend the buddhi of the Rishis in ancient India; and science, in its most advanced stage now, is closer to Vedanta than ever before."

--Alfred North Whitehead, British Mathematician

"To the Indian Rishis the divine play was the evolution of the cosmos through countless aeons. There is an infinite number of creations in an infinite universe. The Rishis gave the name kalpa to the unimaginable span of time between the beginning and the end of creation."

--Dr. Fritjof Capra, American physicist

"The marvel of the Bhagavad-Gita is its truly beautiful revelation of life's wisdom which enables philosophy to blossom into religion."

--Herman Hesse (1877-1962) German poet and novelist, awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1946 says:

"In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seems puny."

--Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), American Philosopher, writer, Unitarian, social critic, transcendentalist:

" India - the land of Vedas, the remarkable works contains not only religious ideas for a perfect life, but also facts which science has proved true. Electricity, radium, electronics, airship, all are known to the seers who founded the Veda."

--Ella Wheeler Wilcox, (1850-1919) famous American poetess and journalist

"The Vedas and the Upanishads are India's proudest and most ancient possessions. They are the world's oldest intellectual legacies. They are the only composition in the universe invested with Divine origin, and almost Divine sanctity. They are said to emanate from God, and are held to be the means for attaining God. Their beginnings are not known. They have been heirlooms of the Hindus from generation to generation from time immemorial."

--Hans Torwesten, German philosopher and writer

"The Vedic literature opens to us a chapter in what has been called the education of the human race, to which we can find no parallel anywhere else."

--Professor F. Max Muller, German philosopher , philologist

" India - the land of Vedas, the remarkable works contains not only religious ideas for a perfect life, but also facts which science has proved true. Electricity, radium, electronics, airship, all are known to the seers who founded the Vedas."

--Ella Wheeler Wilcox, (1850-1919) famous American poet and journalist

"The motion of the stars calculated by the Hindus before some 4500 years vary not even a single minute from the tables of Cassine and Meyer (used in the 19-th century). "The Hindu systems of astronomy are by far the oldest and that from which the Egyptians, Greek, Romans and - even the Jews derived from the Hindus their knowledge."

--Jean-Sylvain Bailly, great French Astronomer

“Hinduism, the perennial philosophy” that is at the core of all religions.
-- Aldous Huxley

"How entirely does the Upanishad breathe throughout the holy spirit of the Vedas! How is every one, who by a diligent study of its Persian Latin has become familiar with that incomparable book, stirred by that spirit to the very depth of his Soul !”

--Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), German philosopher and writer

"Religious faith in the case of the Hindus has never been allowed to run counter to scientific laws, moreover the former is never made a condition for the knowledge they teach, but there are always scrupulously careful to take into consideration the possibility that by reason both the agnostic and atheist may attain truth in their own way. Such tolerance may be surprising to religious believers in the West, but it is an integral part of Vedantic belief."

--Romain Rolland (1866-1944) French Nobel laureate, Historian

“The Gita, the most beautiful philosophical song existing in any known tongue.”

--Julius Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967) Nuclear physicist, philosopher, developer of the atomic bomb

"Hinduism is synonymous with humanism. That is its essence and its great liberating quality."

--H. G. Wells (1866-1946), English author and political philosopher

" India has left a deeper mark upon the history, the philosophy, and the religion of mankind, than any other terrestrial unit in the universe."

--Lord Curzon (1859-1925) British statesman, Viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905, and later became chancellor of Oxford University

"It was only my first meeting with the Indian philosophy that confirmed my
vague speculations and seemed at once logical and boundless."

--William Butler Yeats (1856-1939) Irish poet, dramatist, and essayist and Nobel Laureate

But I do profoundly believe that India needs to be able to say with pride,
"Yes, our civilization has a Hindu base to it."

--Mark Tully former BBC correspondent in India, author

“India is the only country that feels like home to me, the only country whose airport tarmac I have ever kissed upon landing.”

--Paul William Roberts Professor at Oxford , award-winning television writer, producer, journalist, critic and novelist.

" It is India that gave us the ingenious method of expressing all numbers by ten symbols, each receiving a value of position as well as an absolute value, a profound and important idea which appears so simple to us now that we ignore its true merit. But its very simplicity, the great ease which it has lent to all computations, puts our arithmetic in the first rank of useful inventions, and we shall appreciate the grandeur of this achievement the more when we remember that it escaped the genius of Archimedes and Appollnius, two of the greatest men produced by antiquity."

--Pierre Simon de Laplace ( 1749-1827) French mathematician, philosopher, and astronomer, a contemporary of Napoleon. Laplace is best known for his nebular hypothesis of the origin of the solar system.

"Contacting all types of people and studying the names in the languages indicating the numbers, I have not come across anybody counting beyond 1000. Even the Arabs have stopped there.... But Hindus have gone much further and named numbers of eighteen digits also".

-- Al Beruni

"Pythogorus theorem is found in Shulabasutra as Brahmagupta's theorem 200 centuries before Pythogorus".

-- Dr. Fiebout

"What was called in Surya siddhanta as Trikonamiti a type of Mathematical calculation, was well developed in India before the Greek had known about it. Besides, the theorems there were not known in Europe even two centuries ago".

-- Elphinstone

"India Conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border."

--Hu Shih, former ambassador of China to USA

"I have many evidences to say that before 1695 when Gott Fried Leibinz, a German philosopher found the binomial method of counting India had achieved remarkable progress in this field".

-- B.N. Newton

"It was only my first meeting with the Indian philosophy that confirmed my vague speculations and seemed at once logical and boundless."

-- William Butler Yeats

"Without the study of Samskrit one cannot become a true Indian and a true learned man."

-- Mahatma Gandhi

"If I was asked what is the greatest treasure which India possesses and what is her finest heritage, I would answer unhesitatingly that it is the Samskrit language and literature and all that it contains. This is a magnificent inheritance and so long as this endures and influences the life of our people, so long will the basic genius of India continue. If our race forgot the Buddha, the Upanishads and the great epics (Ramayana and Mahabharata), India would cease to be India ."

-- Jawaharlal Nehru

"Samskrit language, as has been universally recognized by those competent to form a judgment, is one of the most magnificent, the most perfect, the most prominent and wonderfully sufficient literary instrument developed by the human mind."

-- Sri Aurobindo

"Samskrit has moulded the minds of our people to the extent to which they themselves are not conscious. Samskrit literature is national in one sense, but its purpose has been universal. That was why it commanded the attention of people who were not followers of a particular culture."

-- Dr. S. Radhakrishnan

"The language of Samskrit is of a wonderful structure, more perfect than Greek, more copious than Latin and more exquisitely refined than either. Human life would not be sufficient to make oneself acquainted with any considerable part of Hindu literature."

-- Sir William Jones

"Samskrit was at one time the only language of the world. It is more perfect and copious than Greek and Latin."

-- Prof. Bopp

"Samskrit is the origin of modern languages of Europe ."

-- Mr. Bubois

"Samskrit is the unsurpassed zenith in the whole development of languages yet known to us."

-- Wilhelm von Humboldt

"The intellectual debt of Europe to Samskrit literature has been undeniably great. It may perhaps become greater still in the years that are to come. We (Europeans) are still behind the making even our alphabet a perfect one."

-- Prof. Macdonell

"Samskrit is the greatest language of the world."

-- Max Muller

"India was the motherland of our race and Samskrit the mother of Europe ’s languages…Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all."

-- Will Durant

"If Samskrit would be divorced from the everyday life of the masses of this country, a light would be gone from the life of the people and the distinctive features of Hindu culture which have won for it an honoured place in world-thought would soon be affected to be great disadvantage and loss both of India and of the world."

-- Sir Mirza Ismail


Senior Member
Apr 1, 2009
"India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe's languages: she was the mother of our philosophy; mother, through the Arabs, of much of our mathematics; mother, through the Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity; mother, through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all".
--Will Durant, American historian

"There are some parts of the world that, once visited, get into your heart and won’t go. For me, India is such a place. When I first visited, I was stunned by the richness of the land, by its lush beauty and exotic architecture, by its ability to overload the senses with the pure, concentrated intensity of its colors, smells, tastes, and sounds... I had been seeing the world in black & white and, when brought face-to-face with India, experienced everything re-rendered in brilliant technicolor."
--Keith Bellows, VP - National Geographic Society

"India has two million gods, and worships them all. In religion all other countries are paupers; India is the only millionaire."
--Mark Twain

"So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked."
--Mark Twain

"She (India) has left indelible imprints on one fourth of the human race in the course of a long succession of centuries. She has the right to reclaim ... her place amongst the great nations summarizing and symbolizing the spirit of humanity. From Persia to the Chinese sea, from the icy regions of Siberia to Islands of Java and Borneo, India has propagated her beliefs, her tales, and her civilization!"
--Sylvia Levi

"Civilizations have arisen in other parts of the world. In ancient and modern times, wonderful ideas have been carried forward from one race to another...But mark you, my friends, it has been always with the blast of war trumpets and the march of embattled cohorts. Each idea had to be soaked in a deluge of blood..... Each word of power had to be followed by the groans of millions, by the wails of orphans, by the tears of widows. This, many other nations have taught; but India for thousands of years peacefully existed. Here activity prevailed when even Greece did not exist... Even earlier, when history has no record, and tradition dares not peer into the gloom of that intense past, even from until now, ideas after ideas have marched out from her, but every word has been spoken with a blessing behind it and peace before it. We, of all nations of the world, have never been a conquering race, and that blessing is on our head, and therefore we live....!"
--Swami Vivekananda, Great Indian Philosopher

"If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions, I should point to India"
--Max Mueller

"In India, I found a race of mortals living upon the Earth, but not adhering to it, inhabiting cities, but not being fixed to them, possessing everything, but possessed by nothing"
--Apollonius Tyanaeus quotes (Neo-Pythagorean)

A Rough Guide to India:

"It is impossible not to be astonished by India. Nowhere on Earth does humanity present itself in such a dizzying, creative burst of cultures and religions, races and tongues. Enriched by successive waves of migration and marauders from distant lands, every one of them left an indelible imprint which was absorbed into the Indian way of life. Every aspect of the country presents itself on a massive, exaggerated scale, worthy in comparison only to the superlative mountains that overshadow it. It is this variety which provides a breathtaking ensemble for experiences that is uniquely Indian. Perhaps the only thing more difficult than to be indifferent to India would be to describe or understand India completely. There are perhaps very few nations in the world with the enormous variety that India has to offer. Modern day India represents the largest democracy in the world with a seamless picture of unity in diversity unparalleled anywhere else."


Senior Member
Apr 1, 2009
The loss of India would mark and consummate the downfall of the British Empire. That great organism would pass at a stroke out of life into history.From such a catastrophe there could be no recovery.

-Churchill, Lord Randolph Henry Spencer

It is only when you get to see and realize what India isöthat she is the strength and the greatness of Englandöthat you feel that every nerve a man may strain, every energy he may put forward, cannot be devoted to a nobler purpose than keeping tight the cords that hold India to ourselves.

-Curzon (of Kedleston), Lord George Nathaniel

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